Ransomware on iPhone: Understand & Fight the Threat
Let’s get straight to the point here.
Are you seeing a message on your screen that says the iPhone is locked and you need to pay a particular sum of money to unlock the device and secure the content?
First and foremost, there is no such thing as Ransomware on Apple devices – including your iPhone. Ransomware is a problem that uniquely plagues Windows laptops and peripherals.
If you have jailbroken your iPhone, it might be more susceptible to threats. But if the original settings are still intact, rest assured that it is your iCloud account that has been compromised and it is still very much possible to take back control of your smart phone.
How Did Hackers Pull Off This Trick?
Generally Ransomware penetrates a system when unsuspecting users click malicious links offered through emails or by visiting dubious site pages. The miscreants gain administrative access to the system, work behind the scenes to gather instructions from a remote server and then block entry of the owner into the device.
In case of iPhone “Ransomware”, the actual phone hasn’t been hacked. The weak link in the chain is the iCloud account.
Those who are looking to harass you have obtained your iCloud log in credentials in one of two ways:
- Either you have responded to a phishing call or email with your details
- Or a third party platform that uses your iCloud credentials for integration has been hacked.
As soon as the hackers gain entry into your account, they use the Find My iPhone feature to send an instruction message to your device and lock it with the PIN that you have set.
Please understand a couple of things here:
1. The iPhone is behaving as if it has been stolen or misplaced. It has been locked to save the “contents” from falling into wrong hands.
2. But in reality, the device is still in your possession. So the whole point of the exercise is futile. You can easily unlock the iPhone by using the regular PIN that you have assigned.
What Should You Do If You See the iPhone Ransomware Message?
You do not need to pay anyone a single dime.
Just swipe the display message and you will be taken immediately to the lock screen. Input your password and gain straight access to your iPhone.
Thankfully since the Find My iPhone provision is intended to keep snoopers and thieves out of your system, there is no feature to “change” the password from iCloud.
But you aren’t out of the woods yet.
The miscreant can easily wipe all the data in your iPhone if he understands that his attempt has been thwarted.
But you still possess an edge. You can change the iCloud password even if the hacker has barred your entry. Use the “forgot password” option and the backup email account with Apple. Please take the following steps:
1. Change the password of the backup email ID with Apple. If you can’t remember what this is, change the entry credentials for all your accounts. You can’t be too cautious!
2. Next, you need to tackle iCloud. Open up your Safari browser and enter applied.apple.com in the URL bar. Click enter.
3. You will be directed to the My Apple ID page. Choose the link Forgot ID or Password?
4. There are two ways in which you can authenticate your identity and change the password. Choose the option to proceed with email.
5. You should receive a mail with a link to change the password for the iCloud account. Click on it and follow the instructions. Please make sure that the password has at least eight characters, a special character and a number. This combination should be significantly different from your previous password.
6. Log out securely from iCloud on all devices you own.
This sequence of actions will ensure that the Ransomware threat is completely eliminated. In the future, you must be very careful with how you store your iCloud password and should change it every few months.
The Surprise Element in Ransomware
Ransomware on iPhone is quite ineffective. It isn’t a patch on the orchestrated, malicious attack on Windows. But people routinely fall victim to this bold hoax and end up paying up to $50 to their tormentors.
You don’t have to do that.
Complete access to your iPhone and the security of your iCloud is guaranteed if you move fast and follow the steps outlined in this article.
Best of luck with your recovery efforts!